An interesting concept, meticulously created. Sutcliff's Arthur is a real man -- a war chief, base-born into a powerful family, who comes to prominence at a time when Britain is under increasing pressure from invaders. There is no Merlin here, no Morgan LeFay, no sword in the stone. As a what-if history, it's a masterwork. As a read for those who prefer the legends of Camelot, it's less satisfying.